On a cool Thursday morning, with winter fast approaching, Mumbai woke with a feeling of energy, nervous excitement and a tinge of sadness. The 'son of the soil' Sachin Tendulkar would be playing his 200th and final Test at the Wankhede Stadium versus the West Indies. From 6am this morning, fans queued up outside the Wankhede Stadium to gain entry into the ground. Shouts of "Sachin, Sachin" echoed throughout Mumbai as the Master Blaster boarded the Indian team bus for the start of a Test match one last time. It was business as usual when Team India walked out to warm up. Before toss, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni presented Sachin with a special cap that had 200th Test embroidered on it.
As Sachin was leaving his hotel to go to the ground, his mother Rajni was driven to the Wankhede Stadium from their Bandra West residence. The 40-year-old personally requested this match be held in Mumbai, so that his mother could watch him play live. In his 24-year international career, Sachin's mum has never been to the ground to see her son play. But this is a very very special occasion for the Tendulkar family.
The 32,000-capacity stadium though was slowly filling up with the West Indian side getting a gracious applause when they came out for their warm-ups. The Indians arrived a bit later, probably stuck in an infamous Mumbai traffic jam, as all eyes were directed at one man and one man only - Sachin Tendulkar.
To cheer Sachin as he walked out with the rest of the Indian team to field were Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, Union minister Sharad Pawar and cricket greats like Kapil Dev and Clive Lloyd.
As toss approached, captains Dhoni and Darren Sammy walked out in their blue and maroon jackets, respectively. Dhoni won the toss and to the disappointment of almost everyone gathered at the Wankhede, elected to field. His decision was met with a chorus of boos, a reaction driven by sentiment as opposed to reason.
Dhoni though was not perturbed and said, "God might be kind to us and give us another Sachin someday."
Wearing the blue cap with '200th Test' imprinted, Sachin led the Indian side on to the field and gave the pre-match pep talk. A large clock counted down from 200 and as it struck zero, Sachin's swansong in Test cricket began.